Sarah Palin is profiled in the documentary "The Undefeated,"… (Reelz Channel )
"The Undefeated," a documentary about former Alaskan governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin drawn from her memoir, "Going Rogue: An American Life," seems to have been made as a piece of political promotion for the 2012 presidential race. But before "The Undefeated" premiered in a tiny number of theaters, Palin announced that she would not run. The film did not do well, either financially or critically.
Now it has found a secondary purpose — running on Reelz Channel as an answer to the much-touted HBO film "Game Change." Where "Game Change" portrays Palin as a woman professionally unqualified and personally unprepared for the national arena, "The Undefeated" presents a modern-day Joan of Arc, coming out of nowhere to galvanize the troops before being thrown to the lions.
That this is literally the image the screen shows when her vice-presidential run is discussed — along with images of ravenous sharks, exploding volcanoes and a harrowing car crash — tells you all you need to know about the film. That it ends with recently deceased conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart calling Republicans who failed to support her "eunuchs" is just a double dose of loony-tune sprinkles on top of the crazy cake.
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Which is too bad. The film starts with a very effective montage of anti-Palin sentiment, setting up what could have been a thoughtful and even revelatory exploration of why Palin caused people to burn so hot with either adoration or hatred. Filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon strings together a particularly effective series of mostly sexist attacks from pundits and comedians who went after Palin for her appearance, fashion and —disturbingly — when and how often she had given birth.
But rather than examine America's wildly extreme reaction, Bannon is content to simply anoint Sarah Palin an "existential threat" (a term used so often by so many of those interviewed that one can only assume it was in a list of talking points) to the establishment of both parties. That she contributed in any way to her own downfall is simply not a possibility.
Not that most viewers will care. Immediately after the rather startling opening, Bannon takes us directly to Alaska and leaves us there for almost an hour, surrounded by a handful of Palin supporters who narrate the glories of Alaska and take us inch by inch, step by step, through Palin's local career.
By the time Palin vaults onto the national stage, many viewers will be so stoned with boredom that they may not notice that the most significant portion of Palin's career is vaulted over with crazy "Wild Kingdom" imagery. They'll probably figure they just fell asleep and somehow the channel changed to Animal Planet.